Faculty-Student Team 2008

Four-Year College Faculty-Student Team Fellowships Program

In summer 2008, the following faculty/student teams have joined the MRSEC group:


 Marlann (middle) and Aaron (right)

Prof. Marlann Patterson
and Student Aaron Cochran
University of Wisconsin – Stout

Worked with Jeff Shield, Mechanical Engineering.




Aaron Cochran has been chosen as a 2007-2008 Co-op Meritorious Achievement Award recipient at the University of Wisconsin-Stout! (May 2009) Thank you to his mentor Prof. Shield!

“This summer, we’re using a sputterer (gas-phase cluster deposition system or cluster machine) to study materials for magnetic memory applications. The cluster machine is a low-pressure chamber (around 10-8 mT), cooled to -140° Celsius. Inside is a target, in our case FePt. The target is heated by incoming ions that vaporize the Fe and Pt atoms; i.e. sputter them. The Fe and Pt particles enter the plasma (consisting of Ar and He ions, electrons and neutral Ar and He atoms). Upon condensation, the clusters assemble in an amorphous state, and are bombarded with the Ar+, which gives energy to them and (hopefully) causes them to order in the L10 phase (ordered clusters make higher coercivity magnets, the only kind that is useful in memory). At this point, the clusters are drawn to the lower pressure deposition chamber. There, they are deposited onto either the single-crystal SiO2, or the TEM grid (for analysis later in the electron microscope). Our objective is to find the best ways to make the Ar+ heating of the clusters as efficient as possible, to eliminate the post-processing anneal step that is normally required.”


Professor Luis Rosa
and Student
Emmanuel Utreras-Mercado

University of Puerto Rico – Humacao
Worked with Peter Dowben, Physics.

 Emmanual (left) and Luis


“Our work this summer consisted on Atomic Force Microscopy Nanolithography on self assembled monolayers of 2-(4-pyridylethyl)triethoxysilane that have been deposited on native oxide surfaces of silicon, with the trimethoxysilylethyl groups towards the silicon oxide interface and pyridine at the surface. We find that it is possible to nanoshave or mechanically break bonds at the alkoxy-silane (Si-C) bond using scanning atomic force microscope, leaving large swaths of surface area cut to a depth of 0.7 nm, exposing the silicon of the alkoxy-silane ligand. Mechanical cleavage of the pyridine ligand is also possible, but more difficult to control selectively.”


Jacob (left) and Todd

Professor Todd Zimmerman
Gustavus Adolphus College
Student Jacob Ferina

Madison Area Technical College
(Madison, WI)
Worked with Jeff Shield, Mechanical Engineering.

 “We studied the magnetic properties of various materials including Sm-Co and Fe-Gd, using several tools such as an AGFM, SQUID, and TEM to characterize the properties as well as performing micromagnetic simulations. We also studied methods for controlling the formation of FePt nanoclusters. We are interested in the magnetic properties on the nanoscale with possible application to developing higher density hard drives, high energy permanent magnets, quantum computers, as well as nanoparticle ferrofluids for targeted drug delivery.”


Professor Mircea Chipara
and Student Alexis Villarreal
University of Texas – Pan American

Worked with David Sellmyer, Physics.
 AJ (left) and Mircea


“This summer the Research Experience for Faculty and Students at Undergraduate Institutions program at UNL allowed us to do research on the interaction between the magnetic moments in Co-Ru-Co thin films by using ferromagnetic resonance, to investigate the magnetic impurities in pristine and proton irradiated double wall carbon nanotubes, to analyze the structural and magnetic features of polyethylene oxide - multiwalled carbon nanotubes composites, and to participate to an exciting research aiming at the electromagnetic properties of nanospirals-magnetic nanoparticles-polymer composites.”